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More than 95% of Palo Alto Students Pass High School Exit Exam on First Try

In the 2011 California High School Exit Exam results released Wednesday, 97 percent of 10th-graders passed the math section, and 96 percent passed the English-language arts section.

The California High School Exit Exam (CASHEE) results are out, bearing good news for Palo Alto: More than 95 percent of students pass the test on their first try.

In the Palo Alto Unified School District, 97 percent of 10th-graders passed the math section of the test, and 96 percent of students passed the English-language arts (ELA) section, according to the California Department of Education's results released Wednesday. Students must take the test for the first time in the 10th grade and then are given a few more opportunities to take it through the 12th grade if they don't pass. 

The results of the CASHEE, required by California state law since 2004 to graduate from high school, were also broken down by gender and ethnicity. For the math section of the test, the pass rates in Palo Alto were as follows: girls, 98 percent; boys, 96 percent; Asians, 100 percent; Hispanics/Latinos, 83 percent, blacks, 80 percent; and whites, 99%.

For the English section of the test, the results were: girls, 97 percent; boys, 95 percent; Asians, 99 percent; Hispanics/Latinos, 76 percent; blacks, 81 percent; and whites, 98 percent.

In Santa Clara County, Asians and whites continue to perform near the ceiling for the CASHEE. Hispanic 10th-graders showed the largest improvement from 2010-11. They demonstrated the largest improvement on the mandatory exam, seeing their pass rate go from 72-75 percent. 

By the 12th grade, approximately 94.6 percent, or 422 of 558 remaining test takers in the Class of 2011, successfully passed both the English and math portions of the test. 

In 2011, Asian 10th-graders passed the English/language arts test at a rate of 94 percent. They passed the math test at 98 percent, the same level as the previous year.

From the Class of 2011, the percentage of African-American students meeting the requirement by the time they graduate was 90.9 percent compared with last year’s 89.6 percent. For Hispanic students, the number stood 92.3 percent over last year’s 91.4 percent; for Asian students, it was 97.7 percent over 97.4 percent; and for white students, 98.4 percent over 98.1 percent

Since 2004, California law has specified that all high school students must take the CASHEE for the first time in the 10th grade. If they don’t pass the test the first time, they then have two opportunities in the 11th grade and three in the 12th, to pass the test. Students with disabilities are exempt from taking the test.

The following are pass rates for 10th graders in local districts. More results can be found on the California Department of Education's website.

Palo Alto Unifed District: Math: 904 tested, 878 passed (97%); English: 913 took, 878 passed (96%)

Fremont Union High District: Math: 2,603 tested, 2,457 passed (rate: 94%), English: 2,603 tested, 2,444 passed (94%)

Milpitas Unified District: Math: 794 tested, 704 passed (rate: 89%); English: 789 tested, 693 passed (88%)

Mountain View-Los Altos Union High District: Math: 842 tested; 788 passed (rate: 94%); English: 865 took, 773 passed (rate: 93%)

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